NAB clears Nawaz in Toshakhana reference

Anti-graft body tells court ex-PM did not use alleged fake account to pay for vehicle

Our Correspondent April 17, 2024
Former prime minister waving to the people during a rally of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Burewala on January 26, 2024. PHOTO: X/ @pmln_org



The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday gave a clean chit to PML-N supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif in a reference related to the acquisition of a luxury vehicle from the Toshakhana (gift repository).

The anti-graft body submitted a report to an accountability court affirming its authority to acquit the former premier in the Toshakhana case.

The report read that the Supreme Court had passed instructions to investigate an alleged fake account associated with Nawaz.

However, it continued that the PML-N supremo did not utilise funds from the alleged account to pay for the vehicle acquired from the Toshakhana.

The report by the country’s graft-buster further read that the vehicle gifted to then-premier Nawaz by Saudi Arabia was relinquished to Toshakhana in 1997. It clarified that in 2008 when it was bought by Nawaz, it was no longer under the ownership of the Toshakhana but that of the federal transport pool.

“This case may attract any other offence but it has no relevancy with the benefit of Toshakhana as the subject vehicle when purchased was not part of Toshakhana, rather than the same was part of the federal transport pool,” it read.

Read Nawaz gets relief from courts after ‘surrendering’ to law

The anti-graft body urged the court to acquit or discharge Nawaz from the reference.

In a reference filed in March 2020, the accountability watchdog alleged that during the term of then-PM Yousaf Raza Gilani, rules were violated to allow former president Asif Ali Zardari and ex-premier Nawaz to acquire luxury vehicles from the state’s gift repository.

It alleged that Gilani facilitated Zardari and Nawaz, claiming that he dishonestly relaxed the government's gift acceptance procedure in 2007.

The procedure stipulated that vehicles presented as gifts by foreign dignitaries shall not be allowed to be purchased by the recipients and be given to the central pool under the care of the Cabinet Division.

In June 2020, an accountability court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Nawaz, who had skipped hearings as he had begun his self-imposed exile in London.

In September 2020, the accountability court declared the PML-N supremo an absconder due to his continuous non-appearance in the Toshakhana case and ordered the confiscation of his property.

According to the anti-corruption body, Zardari and Nawaz retained the vehicles “against a nominal payment of 15% of their total value” through “dishonest and illegal means for their personal benefit and interest”.

Before his return to Pakistan in October last year, an accountability court suspended the perpetual arrest warrants issued in 2020 for Nawaz in the case. He was granted bail days later.

In November last year, NAB informed an accountability court in Lahore that it had recorded Nawaz’s statement in the reference.


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